Archer, Tampa General to test emergency supply delivery via drone

An Orlando tech company has partnered with Tampa General Hospital to provide first-in-the-nation emergency supply deliveries via drones starting next month.

Archer First Response Systems will deploy its drones carrying an automated external defibrillator, NARCAN Nasal Spray and a tourniquet through a 9-1-1 dispatcher.

The dispatcher will walk the 9-1-1 caller through the application needed while emergency vehicles are en route.

The range will cover a 35-square-mile area of Manatee County. Drone-based delivery is expected to cut response time to those suffering cardiac arrest to around 2 minutes, depending on the specific delivery location.

The program will begin with a 12-month evaluation period to determine how the tech can be used across the state. That program will launch May 1.


ArcherFRS CEO Gordon Folkes said the company is committed to using next-gen tech to save lives.

“Sudden cardiac arrest, opioid overdose and trauma impact hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year; there is a real need for a paradigm shift in the treatment and response to these time-critical emergencies,” he said. “We are excited, together with Manatee County Public Safety and Tampa General Hospital, to redefine what is possible and raise the bar when it comes to cardiac arrest, overdose and trauma response.”

Initially, the company will serve a 3.5-square-mile area of coverage Monday through Friday during daylight hours. However, the goal is to expand that coverage area to 35 square miles, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week with further approvals form the FAA.

“Through the use of technology and innovation, Tampa General Hospital is transforming health care,” said John Couris, president and CEO of TGH. “We’re excited to see this vision come to life. With the ability to measure the impact of this program on the community, we can determine how the technology can be used in more scalable, reproducible ways for the broader benefit of our state.”

Manatee County leaders said being in on a first-of-its-kind program illustrates its forward-thinking approach.

“This is an amazing opportunity to be on the cutting edge of technology in emergency response,” said Manatee County Board of County Commissioners Chair Mike Rahn. AEDs are used to respond to individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Each year, 350,000 people in the United States experience a cardiac arrest outside the hospital and only 10% survive. NARCAN Nasal Spray can prevent death in the event of overexposure to opioids. Last year, more than 112,000 Americans died from opioid-related exposure.

The tourniquet is used to apply pressure and stop blood loss for individuals with trauma-related injuries. Any 9-1-1 caller in the coverage area that uses the equipment will benefit from the drone delivery at no cost to them.

“Our team has diligently worked with the FAA to ensure strict adherence to safety standards for the deployment of life-saving equipment via drones within the Manatee County community,” said Jason Swoboda, director of innovation at Tampa General Hospital.